To be honest, I don’t really have strong feelings either way about When My Heart Was Wicked, I liked it but while reading it I never got really excited about it. When I first heard about the plot of this book – a girl who is a reformed evil witch has to battle against turning bad again when she goes back to live with her mum – I was so intrigued! I thought it was going to be the type of book which dragged you in and held on until you were just as emotional strung out as the characters, but instead I felt that this book kind of just fell flat.
I really enjoyed the writing of WMHWW though. It is so poetic – littered with beautifully constructed similes and metaphors that really make you connect with the emotion of the scene. Stirling is also very talented at writing spooky scenes. There were times while reading WMHWW I was a bit freaked out and disturbed.
“They don’t know what it’s like here all day, in this sad house, where Anna and I tiptoe around each other in grief. Like ballerinas in some tragedy, we move so quietly, careful not to touch each other, as though the slightest contact might send us spinning off the stage.”
Another think I really enjoyed about WMHWW was that we read character growth in reverse. We’re used to reading a character growing from something negative into something positive but with WMHWW we read Lacy’s descent from the good girl she’s tried so hard to become into a cruel mean girl again. I found this really interesting to read, the inner battle she was having with herself trying to do the right thing while feeling urged to be bad.
Stirling also takes an interesting approach to a witch book where she has her main character believe in the importance of science and botany when doing magic. I felt like I actually learned things while reading about all the sciency stuff.
I however didn’t like how short the book was. This book is only 184 pages, I should have flown through it but as I mentioned above I never really got to excited about it, I’m unsure if I think that I would have liked it more or less if it had been longer.
I know the whole point was that we’re not supposed to like Cheyenne, Lacy’s mother, but honestly I was turned off every scene she was in. I suppose that means Stirling did a fantastic job of creating an evil character but for me, as she is in the book so often, I just really didn’t want to read about her. I also didn’t like Lacy too much, not that it wasn’t interesting to read about her going evil, but I thought she was pretty spineless when it came to standing up to her mother and I thought she was unnecessarily rude to people which is never fun to read in a character.
Overall, I liked When My Heart Was Wicked it was really well written however while reading it I was never 100% interested, I was counting down the pages until it was done. I think this is a bit of a meh book for me.